Archive for July 5th, 2010
The status quo of the United States depends on mass apathy, as argued by Steven Weber:
So sated with high-tech addictions, so soldered to their screens, so disconnected from the tactile reality of the world their bodies inhabit but their minds avoid, the American people give lip service to that Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It!” spirit but have none of the actual desire to drive a rivet, let alone participate in their democracy.
And the folks who have pulled strings, made gas prices fluctuate, tell you of the boogie men with beards and turbans; the folks who make policy, who steer the herd—-they are regularly gauging the responses of the American public to further hone their future schemes, schemes which depend on mass apathy.
Weber’s post ends on a pessimistic note. That’s my mood all too often. But I suspect that this mess is going to continue damaging the finances and freedoms of Americans, and we are going to stand up in ever greater numbers and demand the readily available fixes to problems created by people (e.g., real and meaningful conservation will greatly lessen our energy crisis).
On the other hand, I can’t help but think that we will not see any meaningful fix to any major problem we face until we directly address campaign finance reform and media reform. Again, these are big but fixable problems.
I spotted this “daddy longlegs” this weekend, and switched my camera to its macro setting for this photo (click the photo for a much expanded and detailed version):
I looked it up today on Wikipedia and found out, to my surprise, that this animal is not technically a spider (even though it is an arachnid). Rather than a “spider” daddy longlegs are “harvestmen,” belonging to the order Opiliones (spiders belong to the order “aranea.”
We have enough of a track record now, I believe. Barack Obama is not a progressive. I believe that he is most strongly motivated by what it takes (in his opinion) to maintain power to win the next presidential election. We’re not going to see any bold moves out of this President. We’ve seen him support enormously complicated health care and Wall Street “reform” bills that fail to address the original impetus for reform. They are bills that fail to fix the problems they purport to address. Now, Barack Obama is failing to use the Gulf oil spill to hit the need for conservation strongly. This is a president of missed opportunities, especially the opportunity to say no to ineffective legislation. Thus, I agree with Robert Kuttner, who wrote a post titled “My Private Obama”:
I reluctantly conclude that whatever progressives might desire in our private visions of who Obama could yet be, he is who he is. It is like watching a needless accident in slow motion. Without a drastic and abrupt course correction, the missed opportunities will continue to accumulate this summer and fall. The whole country, not just the progressive movement, will pay dearly.